2011 Equality Report Card Excerpt: Mental Health

→ There have been no significant changes to gender-specific mental health programming since 2009. The grading criteria for the Equality Report Card set the status quo at a D grade.

↗ The Province has ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities – an important step for which we say congratulations. Compliance with this Convention will require changes to our provincial public guardianship laws to limit the use of substitute decision- making. The Advisory Council sees this as a significant human rights issue that affects seniors, people with mental health problems, and people with intellectual challenges. We strongly urge government to amend the Public Trustee Act. When PEI has enacted supported decision-making legislation, Council will consider this a concrete step to support women’s equality.

→ Partnership is essential for women’s mental health programming. For instance, programs offered by community-based organizations such as the Canadian Mental Health Association at centres such as the Fitzroy Centre, Notre Dame Place, and the Clubhouse in Alberton are key in promoting, protecting, and improving mental health, and they need to be well supported.

↘ Community Mental Health continues to make up about 1.6% of the Health PEI budget and acute mental health services make up about 2.9%. The Advisory Council members express dismay at chronically limited resources for Community Mental Health. We advocate for increased investment and expansion of community mental health services. Council members are concerned about the general shortage of mental health therapists to meet the demand in the community. There are no easy answers, but Council members wonder, are there changes that could be made to the service delivery model for community mental health so that non- crisis cases still get timely help and support? Would there be benefit in putting priority on services for children and youth? Is it time for a recruitment strategy for mental health therapists as there has been for doctors and nurses?

Enhanced initiatives to provide appropriate, gender-specific mental health programming: D

This is an excerpt from the PEI Advisory Council on the Status of Women 2011 Equality Report Card for PEI, released in June 2011 and based on information updated to May 30, 2011. The Advisory Council is republishing one area of assessment each week on this blog. For more information, visit the Advisory Council on the Status of Women website.


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